SIOUX FALLS, S.D.
— A Green Bay, Wis.-based beef processing company has submitted
the minimum $12.75 million bid for an idled South Dakota plant,
according to court paperwork filed Wednesday.
Group's bid for the Northern Beef Packers plant — the first to
be submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court — allows it to
participate in an auction scheduled for Thursday afternoon in
banking firm working with Northern Beef, White Oak Global
Advisors, is automatically deemed a qualified bidder.
million minimum set by the court is a fraction of the roughly $115
million invested in the plant and equipment. The sale includes the
Aberdeen plant's property, fixtures, improvements, machinery,
equipment and supplies.
A message left
Wednesday for an American Foods Group official was not immediately
returned. The company's website says it ships more than 4 million
pounds of beef a day and employs about 4,000 people.
opened on a limited basis in 2012 after years of delays, but the
company filed for bankruptcy protection in July because it lacked
money to buy cattle for slaughter.
The plant was
pitched in 2006 in response to then-Gov. Mike Rounds' South Dakota
Certified Beef initiative. Rounds, who is now running for U.S.
Senate, hoped to get the state's ranchers premium prices by
allowing consumers to track animals from birth, through a feedlot
and to a meatpacking plant.
But the company
struggled to reach anywhere near its production target of 1,500
head per day. Most employees were laid off and production was
halted. Court documents showed the plant had $138.8 million in
liabilities and just $79.3 million in assets.
owned, Northern Beef Packers is 41 percent owned by businessman
Oshik Song with 69 other South Korean investors who each gave at
least $500,000 under the federal EB-5 investment-for-green-cards
The EB-5 program
has become the subject of state and federal investigations.
Attorney General Marty Jackley found that $550,000 of a $1 million
state grant given to the plant for construction and equipment
costs was improperly diverted to SDRC Inc., a private entity that
solicited EB-5 investors for the state, to pay immigration loan
No details have
been released about the ongoing federal investigation.